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The four-step admissions process for Duke Elllington School of the Arts begins with an application (Step 1), pre-audition workshops (optional) and auditions (Step 2), a family interview (Step 3) and then a decision by the DESA team (Step 4). 

Hammers and Keys


Applications to Duke Ellington School of the Arts and all other DCPS and DC public charter high schools are submitted via the MySchoolDC website.  For more information on the application process, see Please note that there are no paper applications – all applications must be submitted online through the site. 

You can submit your application to Duke Ellington now until May 2024. 

The online application will request the email addresses of three people, in order for them to submit recommendations.  After the student’s application is completed and submitted, these individuals will receive an email requesting that they complete the recommendation.

Upload a photo of the student, report cards, test scores and short essay(s) on why you believe Ellington and the art department are a right fit for you.

If you have any issues submitting application materials, contact the MySchoolDC hotline at 202-888-6336 or email us below.

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Group of dancers rehearsing


STEP 2: Auditions 

Applicants may audition for one or two arts majors. Please refer to the artistic fields of your choice as listed in the Explore Arts Majors Section of our Admissions Overview Page to learn more about how to prepare for your audition. 


Two actors rehearsing a scene

STEP 3: Family Interview

For all students who passed their audition and their families, family interviews are the last step


We’ve become acquainted artistically – this is the chance for us to get to know the whole you better. Family interviews are held with the applying student and at least one supporting adult, the Director of External Affairs, staff from the relevant arts department, one of our administrators or Principal. Interviews are approximately 20 minutes long. They give us a chance to get to know each other better and to see if Ellington seems to be a mutual fit.



After your family interview is completed the Admissions Committee (Principal, Administrators, Teachers and/or Department Chairs) review your total application and make a final admissions determination.


Official decisions are only made and are confirmed through MySchoolDC and an official welcome letter from Ellington Admissions with next steps regarding enrollment. 


All non-DC residents, who may be extremely qualified are subject to space-availability.


Duke Ellington School of the Arts does not discriminate in the admissions process based on an applicant’s disability in conformance with the District of Columbia Human Rights Act. Admissions candidates are requested to submit their IEP or 504 Plan in order that we may be sure to give an applicant their appropriate accommodation.

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